Baths of Bliss in the Middle Ages: Fact or Fiction

A vidcast of Professor Elizabeth Archibald‘s inaugural lecture is now available. In this lecture, recorded at St. Cuthbert’s Society on 27th February, Professor Archibald discusses her current research on baths and bathing in medieval literature and society.

Medieval people were much keener on bathing than many today suppose; most medieval towns had public bathing facilities, on the Continent at least, as did many private houses. Medieval writers refer to baths in many contexts: spiritual (baptism), medical, erotic, didactic, comic, magical, dangerous – death in the bath was not uncommon. Illustrations from the period show a great variety of bathing, indoor and outdoor, public and private, formal and informal. It really was a spa culture!


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